Benson Sculpture Garden, August 7-9
This story was featured in the July 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art July 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
What could be more lovely than whiling away a summer afternoon in a Colorado sculpture garden? Perhaps the only thing better would be if that afternoon coincided with the annual Sculpture in the Park event, when the Benson Sculpture Garden overflows with 160 artists presenting some 2,000 works in bronze, ceramic, glass, wood, stone, and mixed media, on the weekend of August 8-9.
The show begins on Friday, August 7, with a private, invitation-only party for patrons from 3 to 8 p.m. It continues Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., during which time some 20,000 visitors are expected.
A silent auction runs throughout the two-day event. Its proceeds benefit the Loveland High Plains Arts Council, which organizes the sale and adds to the permanent collection in the Benson Sculpture Garden. The council installed four new pieces this year, bringing the year-round collection to 148.
Sculpture in the Park began 32 years ago with 50 artists and has gained notoriety as the largest outdoor sculpture show in the United States. Today, six of the original artists—Gerald Balciar, Jack Kreutzer, Nicholas D. Moffett, Dennis Sohocki, George Walbye, and Garland A. Weeks—still participate. Twenty artists are joining the roster for the first time this year, including Joe Norman, Shari Vines, and Sonja J. Metzler, ensuring there will be plenty of new talent to enjoy. Fellow artists who have participated previously and know the show’s high standards jury new sculptors into their ranks.
Texas-based sculptor Angela Mia De la Vega has been juried into the show eight times. De la Vega says her patinas are more exploratory in recent works such as LIFT HER WITH BUTTERFLIES, in which seven varieties of butterflies swirl together to lift a little girl to freedom. A commission inspired PAINTING MUSIC, in which a girl sits in the crook of a tree and paints musical notes. Children continue to inspire De la Vega’s bronze works. “I adore children. They mesmerize me—their purity, humor, and innocence. They delight me. I feel as though my work is able to inspire other people by showing those qualities. They grab the child in everyone,” she says.
Utah-based Jeannine Young also returns to the show this year with both bronzes and one-of-a-kind welded pieces in her signature angular style. Even Young’s steel work glimmers in the light, thanks to a finishing layer of bronze poured over the steel. “The bronze gives it a whole different feeling,” Young says. “Even in a dimly lit room, it will catch what light there is; it gives it a magical appearance.”
Young also catches a bit of inspirational light with a collection of angels and a bronze entitled THE NEXT STEP, depicting a woman climbing stairs and holding a candle. Though drawn from personal experiences, this “close-to-my-heart piece” has universal appeal. “I wouldn’t say these pieces have a message; they have more emotional value,” Young explains. “I’m really a shape person, but lately I’ve made more of a story or an implied story,” she observes.
These story-driven works are but one end of the spectrum, which also includes abstract pieces, that is on view during the show. It’s more than worthy of exploring during an afternoon at that park. —Ashley M. Biggers
Featured in the July 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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